I always love to introduce new authors to my blog readers. Jennifer is a great friend and someone whose stories stick with you! But don't let me tell you all about her... I've put her on the hot seat and asked her some tough questions!
Good Morning Jennifer. Welcome to my blog. Please tell everyone a little about yourself:
When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary). Since then, I’ve published two contemporary romances with Whiskey Creek Press. The Seduction of Esther is my first book with Rebel Ink Press, and I’m excited to be part of their team.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board and volunteer for way more things than I have time to do. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? Oh wow, I love this question. I’m going to have to go with a bit of a mix—we’re a combination of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Cosby Show with a dash of Seinfeld thrown in for good measure. There’s a lot of laughing going on in our house!
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? My favorite thing to do to relax is reading, watching TV and hanging out with my family and friends. I also really enjoy refinishing furniture. (I'm sure I could use some help with refinishing my floors, are you available?)
Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing? Uch, I hate getting up in public! I’m actually on my Temple’s board of trustees, which means I often have to get up in front of the congregation and speak or read. I joke with the Rabbi that he should keep a stash of Dramamine up there for when my shaking makes him nauseous. I think I’d probably go with public singing, as long as it was in a group.
Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer? Definitely typing on the computer. That’s actually the easiest way for me to think.
Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke.
Living without your cell phone or living without your computer? I’d love to live without my cell phone—no one would be able to find me! Not having my computer, on the other hand, just might kill me.
Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author? I think to some extent, yes. I’ve always enjoyed writing. It was just a question of taking it seriously and thinking I might be good enough to pursue it as a career.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Well, I come from a family of writers (uncles, etc.) and we always talked about them and their books when I was growing up, so they definitely influenced me to some degree. My favorite books to read were Jane Eyre, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and anything by romance writer Lynn Kurland. I also loved Kathleen Woodiwiss and Julie Garwood. Plus Shakespeare…yeah, there were a lot of authors I loved! (I loved Lynn Kurland too! Stardust of Yesterday was my all time favorite!)
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend) My teachers and family always said I was a good writer. My parents always wanted me to pursue it, but I never told them I was actually doing it until I got my first contract offer.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? My favorite aspect of writing is when I first sit down and write whatever has popped into my head. Usually, I get an idea for a story by seeing a scene or two in my head or hearing a conversation among the characters. I love the excitement I feel when exploring the possibilities for a new story. My least favorite is when I’m stuck and I don’t know enough about the characters or where the story is going, to continue.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? I’d like to improve the space between what’s in my head and what shows up on the page. Often, I have so much information in my head about my characters and the story, but I’m not able to articulate it well enough to get it down for the reader, at least not in the first draft.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Well, I must sit somewhere comfortable. Even though I have an awesome new desk that I assembled myself (can you tell how proud I am of that fact?), I like writing on the couch whenever possible, with a view of my backyard. And I like having my phone near me so I don’t have to stop and get up when it rings.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? I don’t know if I did this on purpose, but I have a young child in each of my books. She’s not necessarily a main character, but she’s essential to showing the personality of my heroes and heroines.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? To come out of my shell, to be proud of what I do and to be willing to discuss my writing with others. (That's something I'm still working on!)
Let's get down to business. Tell us about your book....
Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.
Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?
Nathaniel logged out of Facebook and leaned back in his desk chair. It squeaked in protest. The application had suggested a number of potential “friends” for him and as usual, he’d ignored them. But this time, the names filled him with a twinge of unease. Both names had been from his old synagogue. Both people knew of his past. The past he’d do anything not to repeat. Which is why today’s time with Samara puzzled him.
He couldn’t deny his attraction to her. The past few weeks he’d tried to deny it and it hadn’t gotten him anywhere. Her appearance at the Met had surprised him, although he wasn’t sure why. He was bound to run into people he knew in the city—it was big, but crossing paths wasn’t unheard of or unexpected.
His heart beat faster as he remembered the warmth of her hand in his, the syncopation of their steps as they meandered through the galleries, the mutual looks they’d exchanged at a comment of Zoe’s. She was real, natural and warm. She made him feel things he didn’t want to feel, wasn’t ready to feel, but couldn’t deny. When they were together, electricity filled the air. His senses went on hyper-alert. The scent of her perfume filled his nostrils and he longed for more—and he didn’t even like perfume. His skin tingled at her nearness, every hair on his arm and neck stood on end and it was as if he could determine her exact position in the room in relation to himself like a compass. He could stare at her for hours, read every emotion on her expressive face, gaze into the endless pools of brown liquid as she looked back at him. He knew her emotions from the tone of her voice and her singing made him forget who and where he was. His mouth went dry at the thought of kissing her, tasting her skin. He shook his head to clear it. At this rate, he’d never get any sleep tonight. As he rose and went to bed, the only thing he could think of was Samara.
What a sexy cover! Sounds like a fun read too! Now back to business. How did you decide on your story plot? I wanted to write something that had Jewish characters. I started to think about the different Jewish holidays and their themes and I came up with a series, each story woven around a specific holiday. I started with Purim, because it’s a very joyous, fun holiday. The holiday is described every year by performing a play, which I thought would be an interesting addition to my story. And, one of the major themes of the holiday is hiding one’s identity, which provides a compelling conflict.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? I have no idea! Obviously, I was thinking of Jewish names and they just came to me. I chose New York as the location because it’s a city I’m familiar with.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? I think my favorite scene is when Nathaniel puts on a gorilla mask in the party store and acts out the part of the animal. He’s such a buttoned up character usually, so it’s quite a departure for him. And when he’s embarrassed and Samara comes to his rescue, well, I just really like that!
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? I think I identify with the heroine, Samara, in a small way. I don’t have her angelic voice (too bad) and I’m not a walking disaster (thank goodness), but I do often feel out of place and awkward in comparison to others, and I work hard to make others feel good.
Let my readers know how they can get a hold of you…
I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. I tweet at @JWilck. My blog (Fried Oreos) is www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com.
Thanks Jennifer for visiting. I hope you enjoyed your time here. You're always welcome to come back and visit again!
Musings from Michigan